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GAUTIER DEBLONDE

Né à Rouen en 1969.

Vit et travaille entre Londres, Lille et Paris.

Gautier Deblonde is a photographer who has been exploring and photographing artists' studios around the world for almost twenty years: Nan Goldin, Ron Mueck, Rachel Whiteread, and Ai Weiwei, and are just some of the artists who have agreed to take part in the game... in their absence.

 

In all, no fewer than 250 photographs have been added to the 'Atelier' series over the years. This kind of behind-the-scenes archiving of the world's contemporary art scene is unprecedented, making this series of portraits unique. The first part was published in 2014 by SteidlDangin.

Artwork above : Atelier Claude Viallat, Nîmes, 2017

Gautier DEBLONDE - Atelier Imi Knoebel - 200 x 80 cm - 6000€_edited.png

« ATELIER » SERIES

Gautier Deblonde's work seems to fall somewhere between reportage, documentary and visual creation. For a photographer as familiar with the world of news as he is with that of the arts, the notion of a hierarchy between these three genres is hardly relevant. At the crossroads of trends, but never adrift, Gautier Deblonde is a photographer who likes to let go, while retaining discipline and a sense of the long term: such is the case of his Atelier series, which matured over almost a decade before being published by SteidlDangin in 2014.

 

What is it about? Places. Encounters. And, sometimes, the unspeakable: a light, a mark, an expression, a fragment of object or material. Gautier Deblonde admits to being fascinated by the traces left by all human activity. What emerges is a real sense of detail, of what needs to be noticed. Like so many side steps, to suggest what can happen inside the image as well as outside the frame. From the portraits of Artists published by the Tate Gallery in 1999 to the white expanses of the Arctic often photographed, the mark of a discreet and subtle subjectivity, of an aesthetic of truth devoid of any coldness, is constantly apparent. We are reminded of the "All is true" invoked by Balzac in connection with the documentary realism of his Père Goriot. But with a certain sense of discrepancy: Gautier Deblonde knows how, when the context or subject requires, to make himself less present, to withdraw, to fade into the background.

 

Distance is perhaps the key to all these images. For Gautier Deblonde, taking a photograph of a place or a person is first and foremost a matter of taking in the subject over a long period of time and understanding it properly, but it is a kind of distended presence that seems to dominate each of his series. Matter for imagining, for constructing one's own story with the subject? No doubt. But also a necessary respect for what the lens encounters. Then comes the moment to photograph. Without impulsivity or transience. The question of time arises: a slower photographic technique and a limited number of shots make each of these images a reflected, suspended moment.

 

Time, then, is another key to the work of Gautier Deblonde, who likes to stop and contemplate. Continuity in the frontal view and the use of long pauses allow him to instil at the heart of his images a real suspension of time, captured as much as celebrated. A time for contemplation, reflection and rest. A real, tangible time: that of a place, an object, a person, a life. In Gautier Deblonde's photographs, there is a sense of furtive continuity, of contemplative linearity. It's as if, from Ron Mueck's studio caught in the midst of his work (the time of a film commissioned in 2013 by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, whose spirit of stopping 'at work' is reflected in its title: Still Life. Ron Mueck at work) to the ageless shores of Marie Galante, it was one and the same calm, skilful wandering of the imagination, like a long lateral travelling shot: one thinks of the traffic jam scene in Godard's Weekend, a documentary also endowed with a mood.

 

In fact, Gautier Deblonde's approach is never far removed from the cinema: witness his collaboration with director Lynne Ramsay on the feature film Morvern Callar, about which a book was published by ScreenPress in 2002. It is in this logic that the idea of repetition and series interests Gautier Deblonde. No doubt because he finds in it the discipline that allows him to be daring. But it also allows him to take a little of the time and distance that make up the strength of the work he builds up with consistency and sagacity.

ARTISTS AT WORK
Following on from his work photographing artists' studios around the world, Gautier Deblonde has also filmed them in their creative process.

Still Life: Ron Mueck at work (extract)

A film by Gautier Deblonde

HD film, 48'03'', 2013

My meeting with Ron Mueck, by Gautier Deblonde (Extract)

"I first met Ron Mueck in 1998. The contemporary art world had just discovered this young talent.

 

The Royal Academy in London organised the exhibition "Sensation: Young artists from the Saatchi Collection" in 1997. The sculpture Dead Dad, a naked corpse of an old man - Ron's father - measuring one hundred and two centimetres, was exhibited for the first time. It was the work that caught the attention of visitors and the media alike.

 

The English art dealer Anthony d'Offay, a benchmark in the 90s, offered him his gallery. It was a great success, and the large number of collectors and museums interested in his work propelled him into the big leagues. It was at this time that I finished my first major photographic project, a series of portraits of artists from the British art scene. The Tate Gallery was interested in my images and confirmed the publication of a book. Ron's agent heard about my project and suggested I meet him. This first meeting took place in a studio in West London. [...] "

Read the full text by Gautier Deblonde
here

« TRUE NORTH » SERIES

"It was thanks to a commission that I made my first trip to Svalbard, three years ago. I hardly knew its name and would certainly have had trouble putting this archipelago on the map, halfway between North Cape and the North Pole.

 

It was discovered in July 1596 by the Dutch explorer William Barents, who was looking for a northern route to China. He thought these islands belonged to Greenland and named them Spitsbergen (the mountains with the sharp point). Their name has been Svalbard (the cold coast) since 1920, when the place came under Norwegian sovereignty.

 

Travelling to other continents is obviously a change of scenery. But to find yourself in Svalbard is to change your universe. You quickly lose all sense of time and place. It's daytime for six months of the year and night is total for four months.

 

Light is certainly what gives Svalbard its identity. It can shine and illuminate with extreme clarity, but very quickly it can become diffuse, soft, indecisive and dark. It plays with these monochrome landscapes, offering a limited but rich palette of colours.

 

From one photograph to the next, the light changes, accentuating the impression that everything has to start all over again. It's a call too. I've been back to Svalbard five times.

 

I met different communities, like Barenstburg, a Russian mining village that has existed since 1932, the last one in the Arctic. At its peak, it was home to over 1,500 people. Since then, a certain melancholy has taken hold of the village, and at the time of my visit there were only 600 inhabitants left. This summer, with no coal to extract, the number of inhabitants was halved again. The only school has been closed. Barenstburg is living out its final days.

 

Ny-Alesund was my new destination. A former mining village, it is now home to thirty scientists in winter and up to a hundred in summer. They are all there to calculate and measure climatic and atmospheric changes, and to study fauna, flora and marine life. The results are not always good...

 

Like Barenstburg, Svalbard may be living out its final days. These lands, so hard and so fragile at the same time, are victims of global warming: they are inexorably changing. The American essayist Gretel Ehrlich calls them The Vanishing Landscapes”. Gautier Deblonde, 2020

CV

EXPOSITIONS PERSONNELLES / SOLO SHOWS (Sélection)

2022

Inventaire, Galerie Bacqueville, Vlissingen, Netherlands

2018
Atelier, CIAC Bourbourg, France

2014
Atelier, MAD Museum, New York, USA

Atelier, Central Saint Martins, London, United Kingdom

2012
Ateliers d'artistes, Galerie Bacqueville, Lille, France

2008
Svalbard, Institut Français de Varsovie, Warsaw, Poland

2007
Svalbard, Maison de la photographie, Lille, France

2003
Morvern Callar, Chambre Claire, Paris, France

2002
Morvern Callar, Tom Blau Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2001
Bridges, Tom Blau Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Portraits d'artistes, Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom


1999
Portraits d'artistes, Focus Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Portraits d'artistes, A Gallery, London, United Kingdom

EXPOSITIONS COLLECTIVES / GROUP SHOWS

2020

Le Rêve d'être artiste, Palais des Beaux-arts de Lille, France


2019
Unseen Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Photo London, London, United Kingdom


2018
Enchanté, LAAC, Dunkerque, France


2017
Atelier, Galerie Bacqueville, Lille, France

Callum Innes Exposed, De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands

2016
Dans l'atelier. L’artiste photographié, d’Ingres à Jeff Koons, Petit Palais, Paris, France

Art Paris, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Paris, France

2015

Art Paris, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Paris, France


2014
Art Paris, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Paris, France
Paris Photo, Paris, France

L’Œuvre photographiée : les ateliers d'artistes, Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence (F)

2013
Still Life : Ron Mueck at Work, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
Brussels Art Fair, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Brussels, Belgium

Lille Art Fair, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Lille, France

2012

Lille Art Fair, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Lille, France

2011
Lille Art Fair, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Lille, France

Artists' Studios, Maison de l’architecture, Lille, France


2010
Brussels Art Fair, Stand Galerie Bacqueville, Brussels, Belgium
Artists' Studios, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, United Kingdom


2009
Paris Photo, Paris, France

True North, Galerie du jour, Paris, France

2008
The Art Of Climate Change, Tokyo, Japan


2007
Festival international de la photographie, Arles, France
The Art Of Climate Change, Barcelona, Spain

The Art Of Climate Change, Hamburg, Germany

2006

The Art Of Climate Change, Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom

2001
Portraits of Artists, National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom

1999
Portraits of Artists, National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom

FILMS - ÉCRITS, RÉALISÉS, CO-PRODUITS / FILMS - WRITTEN PRODUCED AND DIRECTED

2021
Michel Nedjar, FNAGP

2020
Ron Mueck, FNAGP
Giuseppe Penone, FNAGP
Briding Home, Art Night

2019
Ilse D’Hollander, Victoria Miro Gallery

2018
Callum Innes Exposed, Musée De Pont, Tilburg

2014
Gugging, La Maison des artistes

2013
Still Life : Ron Mueck at Work, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

​FILMS - COLLABORATIONS

2003
Yes, Sally Porter

2001
Morven Callar, Lynne Ramsay
Shooters, Dan Reid

2000
Bridge, Lucy Blakstad

1999
Urban Turban, Bruce McLean


COLLECTIONS & COMMANDES / COLLECTIONS & ORDERS

Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France

Carmody Groarke, London, United Kingdom

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom

London Symphony Orchestra, London, United Kingdom

Victoria Miro Gallery, London, United Kingdom

National Gallery London, London, United Kingdom

Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

Royal Opera House, London, United Kingdom

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom

Gagosian Gallery

Guggenheim

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Channel 4 / Connaissance des arts / Figaro Japon / Financial Time / Granta / Le Monde / Le Monde Magazine / Liberation / Les Echos / Magazine Littéraire / Marie Claire / Mare /Modern Painters / Newsweek / Stern / Telerama / The Guardian / The Independent / The Observer / The Sunday Times / The Telegraph Magazine / Vega Sicilia / Wallpaper

PRIX ET BOURSES / AWARDS

2019
Aide à la production, FNAGP

2013

Finaliste du Leica European Publishers Award for Photography


2008
Finaliste du Leica European Publishers Award for Photography

2001
Lauréat du World Press, Art Category

2000
Finaliste du Photographer of the Year - Merit SPD (Society of Publication Designer)

1995
Lauréat du Ilford Award

LIVRES / BOOKS 

2015

Atelier - Édition limitée du livre présenté sous coffret, éd. Louis Vuitton

Atelier, éd. SteildDangin

2003
Morvern Callar, éd. Screenpress Publishing

2001
Boy by Ron Mueck, éd. Anthony d’Offay Gallery

1999
Artists, éd. Tate

1998
1000 Names, éd. Lisson Gallery 

​​LIVRES D’ARTISTES / ARTIST'S BOOKS

2019
Milton Avery, éd. Victoria Miro Gallery

2014
Jean Prouvé, Le Sens de la lumière, AMC

2012
Anna Barriball, éd. MK Gallery
Fashion and Art Collusion, éd. Victoria and Albert Museum
Anthony Caro, éd. Chatsworth

2011
Karla Black, éd. Fruitmarket Gallery

2010
7 July 2005, éd. DCMS

2008 
Ron Mueck, éd. Foil Gallery

2007
Antony Gormley, Blind Light, éd. Hayward Gallery 

2006
Ron Mueck, éd. Fondation Cartier

2005
Rachel Whiteread, Transient Spaces, éd. Guggenheim New York

2002
Rachel Whiteread, éd. Anthony d’Offay Gallery

2000
Lucy Blakstad, Bridge, BBC

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